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How to Overcome Common First Job Problems

How to Overcome Common First Job Problems

Degree? Successfully completed. Graduation? Over and done with. Job Interview? Aced. And now you’re about to step into a whole new world called the “workplace” and start adulting! In fact, starting your first job can be a nerve-wracking experience as it sets the pace of your career in the future.

Here are some common first job problems and tips on how you can overcome them.

1. You don’t know anyone

You’ve just completed orientation, and now you’re introduced to your new work team. Immediately, it hits you that you are the “newbie” at work. You can’t help but feel anxious about your colleagues and whether your boss is nice to work with, especially since you are the youngest staff in your team.

Tip: Smile and try to bond with your colleagues

At your first job, everyone and everything will be new to you. Embrace the fact that you may be the most junior and will be told what to do by senior colleagues. Always keep an open mind and learn as much as possible from different people at your workplace. Build your own support system at work by getting to know colleagues in your team and those from other departments. Since you will be spending most of your time at work, getting to know your colleagues will definitely come in handy when you least expect it!

2. You’re not used to working in a team

In the workplace, you are expected to work both independently with minimum supervision and as a team player. When it comes to a huge business project, chances are you will be required to collaborate with different personalities in your office (i.e. colleagues within your team and other departments) to meet the deadline and make the project a success.

Tip: Engage with your colleagues and keep an open mind

As much as working in a team as a university student may have left a bitter taste in your mouth, it’s a different ball game at the workplace. Being a team player is essential to succeed in your career. When you are required to collaborate with others in the office, be responsible and committed to pulling your weight, remain flexible and always keep your teammates informed of work progress or any new updates relevant to the work at hand.

3. You don’t have time for anything else

You’ve got current deadlines to meet in addition to pending matters from the week before, and you are seriously lagging behind. Clearly, your boss is NOT HAPPY! Inevitably, you find yourself working overtime in the wee hours of the night. You’re starting to wish you have more time or never started working in the first place!

Tip: Learn how to manage your time effectively

Cliché as it may sound, time management is important, even more so in an office environment. Make a schedule and stick to it, prioritize, manage negative distractions and set some boundaries. Utilise technology to make things easier – set reminders on your phone and computer to boost your productivity and get things done!

4. You don’t have enough money

Receiving your first salary is an accomplishment in itself! Finally, you get to splurge on items you have been eyeing for a long time, be it new clothes or a fancy meal at a fine dining restaurant. In no time, you realise that you are running short of cash …and it is only the middle of the month!

Tip: Manage your cash flow well by setting a budget

Learning to manage your finances well is important for financial stability in the long run especially in cases of an emergency. Setting a budget for your expenses and planning your expenditure will help you achieve your life goals while having sufficient funds to fulfill your personal responsibilities. Always stick to your budget and don’t be afraid to seek expert advice, if you need to!

5. You made a blunder

The day you’ve been dreading since you first started work has arrived- you made a major boo-boo. You are due to be reprimanded by your boss and feel overwhelmed simple because you need to do a quick damage control.

Tip: Learn from the experience

We all make mistakes every now and then. What’s important is to avoid getting into a frenzy. Offer a genuine apology and take responsibility for your mistakes, then focus on damage control to minimise any potential risks that may occur. Gain feedback from senior colleagues on how to avoid similar mistakes in the future and move forward!


At the end of the day, maintain a positive attitude and enjoy the experience. Don't sweat the small stuff. Good luck!